Evolution of ebola virus disease from exotic infection to global health priority, Liberia, mid-2014

Emerg Infect Dis. 2015 Apr;21(4):578-84. doi: 10.3201/eid2104.141940.


Over the span of a few weeks during July and August 2014, events in West Africa changed perceptions of Ebola virus disease (EVD) from an exotic tropical disease to a priority for global health security. We describe observations during that time of a field team from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and personnel of the Liberian Ministry of Health and Social Welfare. We outline the early epidemiology of EVD within Liberia, including the practical limitations on surveillance and the effect on the country's health care system, such as infections among health care workers. During this time, priorities included strengthening EVD surveillance; establishing safe settings for EVD patient care (and considering alternative isolation and care models when Ebola Treatment Units were overwhelmed); improving infection control practices; establishing an incident management system; and working with Liberian airport authorities to implement EVD screening of departing passengers.

Keywords: Ebola; Ebola virus disease; Ebolavirus; Filoviridae; Liberia; Liberian Ministry of Health and Social Welfare; West Africa; disease outbreaks; epidemiology; expedited; hemorrhagic fever; public health; viruses; zoonoses.

Publication types

  • Historical Article

MeSH terms

  • Disease Management
  • Ebolavirus* / genetics
  • Geography, Medical
  • Global Health
  • Health Personnel
  • Health Priorities
  • Hemorrhagic Fever, Ebola / epidemiology*
  • Hemorrhagic Fever, Ebola / history
  • Hemorrhagic Fever, Ebola / virology*
  • History, 21st Century
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Liberia / epidemiology
  • Population Surveillance